A Commoner Writes: What Is Really Meant By “Pursuit Of Happiness”

The Declaration of Independence states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”   In my role as a professor at both liberal arts and engineering universities I have held a policy of asking my students the question, ‘’How do you define freedom?” The answer I have received every time, yes every time, is ‘Freedom is about happiness. And that I can do whatever I want to do whenever I want to do it. THAT…


A ‘Commoner’ Writes With A Question: Could There Be More To Hurricane Harvey Than Climate Change?

  Dear Commoner Call, Considering that many have investigated geoengineering processes and have shown significant data from many sources, I think it is important to question how it is that a huge storm like Hurricane Harvey could behave as oddly as it did. The questioning of geoengineering and the likelihood that these processes must also be included in weather analysis as opposed to simply assigning ‘climate change’ influence as the explanation to weather anomalies.  This is NOT to say that those investigating geoengineering are climate change deniers.  In fact, it is their concerns about climate change that prompt them to…


We Have A Moral Duty To Talk About Climate Change

  By Mark Lynas CNN (9/1/17) This is what climate change looks like. Entire metropolitan areas — Houston in the United States and Mumbai in India — submerged in catastrophic floods. Record-breaking rainfall: Harvey’s 50-plus inches of torrential deluge set a new national tropical cyclone rain record for the continental United States. They used to make Hollywood disaster movies about this sort of thing. Now it’s just the news. Officials as senior as Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Donald Trump, have suggested that now — during a natural disaster — is not the time to raise the divisive and highly politicized issue of global warming….


Santa Fe Aiming For 100% Renewable Energy By 2025

  By Lorraine Chow EcoWatch (8/1/17) New Mexico’s capital has joined the growing movement of U.S. cities committing to 100 percent renewable energy. On Wednesday, Santa Fe’s City Council unanimously adopted Mayor Javier Gonzales’ resolution directing City Manager Brian Snyde to develop a feasibility study on how the city can transition to renewables by 2025. Snyde will report the findings in 90 days. “The City of Santa Fe has historically been a leader in the fight against global warming and has a responsibility to continue to set a positive example for other cities, states and countries to follow,” the resolution states. “Such a transition to…


Bugged: Lefty Icon Cornel West Accidentally Smears Self & Charlottesville Antifascist Protesters

Inattention to framing can hobble, dilute and vaporize the best of political efforts. You can even wind up promoting your opponent’s arguments.   By Mark L. Taylor The Commoner Call (9/4/17) Before I begin, take a moment – and a deep breath – to check your emotional reaction to the following word: cockroaches So now… First off, let me say Cornel West is one of my heroes. The man is one of the sharpest intellects to be found and speaks truth to power with unique moral clarity and courage. Unlike many partisans, West challenges republicans and democrats alike in the name…


Daily Dose: What’s The DNC Thinking…Because It’s Definitely Not About Progressive Values

www.frame4future.com By Scott Wittkopf Frame For The Future (9/1/17) We learned today that the Democratic National Committee reported “abysmal” fundraising numbers: “The $4.7 million it raised in April was the lowest for that particular month since 2009. The $4.3 million raised in May was the worst for that month since 2003. And now the $3.8 million raised in July is the worst for any month since January 2009.” (Washington Post) As we head into a holiday weekend to celebrate labor and the sacrifices progressive people made so that we all can have a better quality of life, I pose the question that…


Worker Notes: ‘Commoner Call’ Labor Writer Sends Out A Note Of Thanks To Health Care Workers

  (Editor’s Note: Commoner Call labor columnist Tom Crofton has been dealing with some serious structural re-engineering lately. He sends out a note of thanks to all the wonderful health care workers at the Richland Hospital who made his recent stay as comfortable as possible. While the two major parties don’t do their job of providing affordable health care to all, America’s health care workers act with the compassion and care far too few of our nominal ‘leaders’ display. Time for universal health care for all! – Mark L. Taylor)   By Tom Crofton The Commoner Call (1/4/17) I’d like…


Trump Explores New Low As He Pimps His #&@!! Dopey Hats During Hurricane Harvey Briefings & Houston Visit

  Hustler Trump Profiting Off Hurricane Tragedy By Using The Presidency To Hawk $40 Hats  By Mark L. Taylor The Daily Call (9/4/17) Even by the ever declining standards of his tacky administration Trump’s wearing of his latest 2020 campaign fundraising baseball cap during Hurricane Harvey briefings and visits to Houston is a new cringe inducing low point. To say – as is so often said about this toxic spill of a presidency – that it is unprecedented doesn’t even come close to describing the slimy moral depravity of Trumpian adolescent arrogance. It’s especially disgusting as we know Trump personally…


Russia Monitor: Trump’s Russia Problem Goes From Drip, Drip To Deluge

  By Dan Peak The Daily Call (9/4/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump-Russia; there are a range of opinions and possible outcomes. Last edition I showed the Slate Trump Impeach-O-Meter and it shows ‘chances’ increasing from 60-62%. The Gallup daily Job Approval poll showing Trump favorability/un-favorability is running at all time lows (34-35% favorability) and consistent highs (holding at 60% un-favorability). Polls in general for Trump are trending slowly and consistently against him. For perspective or reinforcement look no further than The Washington Post. The Bad News About ‘this Russia thing’ Keeps Pouring In For Trump This stands as a pretty…


Mike McCabe: The Taproot Of Our Many Problems

By Mike McCabe Blue Jean Nation (8/15/17) Wisconsin is up to its eyeballs in problems. Our state has lost its way. It is becoming a shadow of its former self. Same goes for the country as a whole. The problems vary from place to place. Go to Trempealeau County and you see hills and bluffs disappearing and hear fears expressed over the effects of breathing the fine dust that hangs in the air or drinking water that has turned an amber color. In the Central Sands region you see lakes and streams drying up because a few are being allowed…


Washington Post Guide To Resigned Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke’s Chest Full Of Fake Medals

So where’s the medal for ‘Baloney’, David? By Phillip Bump The Washington Post (5/26/17) Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke emerged onto the national scene last year with his fervent support of Republican Donald Trump, despite the fact he was a Democrat. Clarke’s embrace of Trump’s politics — and of Trump’s intemperate rhetorical style — earned him a speaking slot at the Republican convention last year. It also overlapped with a great deal of scrutiny about his behavior as sheriff, including a number of deaths at jails under his jurisdiction. Clarke’s political energy and background made him a deeply controversial figure, and the subject…


German Historian Says The Dark Implications Of Trump’s Pardon Of Arpaio Are Ominous

  By Richard E. Frankel History News Network (8/31/17) In August of 1932, in the town of Potempa, nine Nazi Stormtroopers murdered a supporter of the German Communist Party, kicking him to death in his own apartment as his family watched in horror. Six were convicted with five receiving the death penalty. After the verdict, Hitler sent them a telegram in which he declared to them his “boundless loyalty.” Shortly after he came to power in 1933, he pardoned the killers. While former Sheriff Joe Arpaio never kicked anyone to death, his pardon by President Trump raises disturbing parallels. Upon…


Don’t Assume Robert Mueller Is Here To Save You. Get To Work!

  By Michael Moore Michael Moore’s Facebook Page (8/31/17) There are some misleading stories about a “prediction” I supposedly made based on the interview I gave below. I’m not Nate Silver. Or the New York Times (Hillary Clinton has an 85% chance of winning! http://nyti.ms/2iIKJ9m). I don’t do predictions. I just need you to wake the fuck up and not get giddy every time a new Robert Mueller story breaks. If we don’t face the fact that he outsmarted us all and is more than capable of doing it again in 2020, then we’ll be facing 8 years of Trump in…


CARTOON: Unnatural Man

“Look into the soul of Donald Trump and you will see there is no soul.” – Keith Olbermann Link to 7-Minute Video ***** Donald Trump Cashes In On Hurricane Harvey Catastrophe To Plug His Damn Campaign Merchandise By Jamie Feldman The HuffPost (8/29/17) President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrived in Texas Tuesday in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which ripped through the Texas coast and triggered one of the worst floods in U.S. history, causing catastrophic damage to the greater Houston area and claiming at least 10 lives so far. A visit to a disaster area is not the most appropriate time for product promotion, but here we are. Trump…


Naomi Klein’s Message To The Media Covering Houston: Now Is The Time To Talk About Climate Change

  Democracy Now! (8/30/17) The World Meteorological Organization on Tuesday announced that Hurricane Harvey’s devastation is linked to climate change. All past U.S. rainfall records have been shattered, and the devastating storm is expected to bring even more rainfall to Louisiana and Texas in the coming days. And yet, the corporate networks have avoided linking the record-breaking storm to climate change. We examine storm coverage with Naomi Klein, best-selling author of several books, including “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.” Link to Story and 10-Minute Video ***** Ex-NASA Scientist James Hansen: There is a Clear Link Between Climate Change…


Scotty’s Big Con: Wisconsin’s Foxconn Deal Enriches Billionaires With Taxpayer Cash

  By Sam Pizzigati Common Dreams (8/28/17) Taiwanese billionaire Terry Gou every once in a while likes to think “outside the box.” Back in 2010, for instance, the giant electronics manufacturer that Gou runs — Foxconn — was facing what corporate flacks like to call a major “PR problem.” Working conditions inside Foxconn’s massive Chinese factories had become so incredibly stressful that workers were committing suicide in shockingly large numbers. They were leaping out factory windows to their deaths. And what did Gou’s Foxconn do to try to calm the worldwide outrage? The conventional corporate move would have been to dial back the…


Russia Monitor: Watch Him Do A Con Man’s Waltz With A Stone In His Shoe

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (8/31/17) Dear Fellow Readers, If you were going to write a spy thriller, what would be a good setting, how might you create tension, what are the ‘tricks of the trade’ for such a book? Let’s start with plausibility, you can stretch a reader’s imagination, but not launch so far past credulity that readers won’t bite. Trump-Russia: Putin and Russia stealing the U.S. election, that might be a bridge too far? Then again, The Manchurian Candidate didn’t lose us. A few years ago we might have viewed The Americans (FX Networks) as an…


Warning Against Complacency, Michael Moore Says Trump Could Win Again In 2020

  By Julia Conley Common Dreams (8/28/17) Activist and filmmaker Michael Moore is cautioning against complacency during President Donald Trump’s first term—warning progressives that the president’s historically low approval ratings don’t necessarily point to a Trump defeat in 2020. In an interview with Fast Company on Monday, Moore said he predicts Trump will win a second term if he runs for reelection. “I should say re-appointed, because we will have an even larger population that will vote against him in 2020,” he noted. “But he will win those electoral states as it stands now.” Moore predicted that Trump would win in 2016, despite poll…


Robert Reich: What Do Democrats Stand For?

  By Robert Reich RobertReich’s Blog (8/28/17) The Democratic Party can lead the country in a new direction, but will it? Millions of Americans who are politically engaged for the first time in their lives are crying out for a bold alternative to bigoted and destructive policies. But Democrats can’t just be anti-Trump or move to the middle. To be successful Democrats must address the forces that created Trump: The toxic combination of widening inequality and racism. The richest one percent now own more than the bottom 90 percent. Corporations and the rich are running our politics. The resulting economic…


Democratic Socialism In 5 Minutes Or Less

  By Dayton Martindale In These Times (8/24/17) dem·o·crat·ic so·cial·ism – noun The political philosophy of In These Times’ founders, who in their first editorial proclaimed: “Our overriding commitment is to democracy, to socialism as the means to its attainment, and to the inseparability of the two.” “Call it democracy, or call it democratic socialism, but there must be a better distribution of wealth within this country for all God’s children.” —Martin Luther King, Jr. in a 1965 speech to the Negro American Labor Council So What Does That Actually Entail? Ask any two socialists and you’ll likely get different answers. Ask any…


Stay Alert For Shock Doctrine! With Enormous Harvey Damage, Naomi Klein Warns Against ‘Disaster Capitalism’ Redux

  By Julia Conley Common Dreams (8/28/17) As millions of Houston residents faced life-threatening flooding on Monday with the saturated remnants of Hurricane Harvey expected to bring even more heavy rains in the days ahead, journalist Naomi Klein warned against the notion, already being pushed by some on the right, that the disaster shouldn’t be “politicized.” “Now is exactly the time to talk about climate change, and all the other systemic injustices — from racial profiling to economic austerity — that turn disasters like Harvey into human catastrophes,” Klein wrote at The Intercept on Monday. In her piece, Klein warns that the absence of journalists, lawmakers,…


Grenade Launchers At The Mini Mart & Bayonets At The Playground: Trump Orders Resumption Of Military Supplies To Local Police

  By Patrick Martin World Socialist Web Site (8/29/17) President Trump signed an executive order Monday morning reinstituting a federal program to supply military-grade weaponry and equipment to state and local police forces. The program had been suspended since May 2015 under an executive order signed by Barack Obama that Trump has now rescinded. The Obama administration was compelled to restrict, at least temporarily, the distribution of “surplus” military equipment after widespread public outrage following the deployment of armored vehicles and other military weaponry in Ferguson, Missouri, after mass protests that followed the August 2014 police murder of 18-year-old Michael…


As The Federal Probe Grinds On, Amateurs Search Dusty Archives For Trump Bombshells

  By Darren Samuelsohn Politico (8/20/17) Nearly 3,000 miles from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Washington offices, another investigation into President Donald Trump is underway. This one unfolds in the public libraries and coffee shops of San Francisco, where a self-employed 40-year-old named Geoff Andersen has worked since November for 16 hours a day, seven days a week, burning through nearly $45,000 in personal savings and donations from friends and family in pursuit of hidden truths about Trump’s rise to power. Andersen, a freelance Democratic opposition researcher who worked on President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign and is now between jobs, has downloaded…


“Commoner’ Writes: Wear That Cartoon!

  LOVE today’s cartoon!!!  Someone needs to make a bunch of these shirts and sell them. Sue Conard LaCrosse, WI Editor’s Reply: Thanks, Sue. All Commoner Call original cartoons are available for use by progressive groups for T-shirts, newsletters, posters and websites for free. – Mark L. Taylor.


The Long Game – Resistance, While Necessary, Is Merely Reactive. Progressives Need To Start Being Proactive

  By John Atcheson Common Dreams (8/24/17) Conservatives navigate using a polestar; Democrats steer by their hood ornament.  As a result, conservatives set the agenda, while Democrats respond to it.  Worse, conservatives shape polls, and Democrats are shaped by polls. Conservatives have been strategic.  Democrats have—at best—been tactical.  That’s been the story since Reagan. This explains why our country has drifted to the right; it explains why Democrats have gone from majorities in government at all levels in the 70’s, to barely holding onto a shrinking minority at any level. It explains why today’s Democrat is more conservative than yesterday’s…


Sanders & Warren: Will The Democratic Party Follow Them Leftward?

  By Lauren Gambino The Guardian (8/27/17) At Fellowship Chapel in west Detroit, Bernie Sanders delivered a thundering battle cry for the progressive movement before a crowd of nearly 2,000 people, squeezed into wooden pews and crowded into an overflowing room. The town hall had the feeling of a revival meeting led by Sanders, who preached with the same urgency the message he delivered repeatedly on the 2016 presidential campaign trail: the system is rigged against the American people. But in Detroit he punctured the bleak prophecy with a glimmer of hope. “What this whole debate is about is what constitutes human…


It’s Possible To Step Out Of Our Comfort Zone & Connect With The “Average” Trump Voter

www.frame4future.com By Scott Wittkopf Frame for the Future (8/24/17) There were quite a few comments on social media about yesterday’s blog (pointing out that progressives and Democrats have a largely unconscious “salient exemplar” bias that gets in the way of connecting with the average Trump voter) from progressives who adamantly disagreed with me.  I found it interesting that in disagreeing with me, they provided a stark example of their own bias (salient exemplar) – to the point of using metaphors to de-humanize all people who voted for Trump. Here are some examples (names omitted). Consider how these quotes reflect a bias which apply…


Russia Monitor: That Investigator Case Wall Is Filling Up Fast!

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (8/29/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Our prayers for the people of Houston and east Texas, the flooding is horrific. It was only two weeks ago we were saddened by the death of Heather Heyer and the violence in Charlottesville. Each news cycle feels like an assault. Trump-Russia was more in the news this week. The two main threads were the reports on Trump’s ongoing efforts to ‘call off the dogs’ of investigation into his Russia ties and the Trump Dossier is back in the news. Before I jump in, if you are reading this…


American ‘Just-Us’ – Attorney General Sessions Considers Making It Easier To Subpoena Journalists

  Press Freedom Tracker (8/4/17) Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on August 4 that the Department of Justice was “reviewing our policies affecting media subpoenas” as part of a broader crackdown on unauthorized leaks of information to the press. Sessions suggested news organizations had endangered people’s lives by publishing stories based on leaked information, though he did not provide any evidence for this claim. “We respect the important role that the press plays, and we’ll give them respect, but it is not unlimited,” he said at the press briefing. “They cannot place lives at risk with impunity. We must balance the press’s role…


“Sieg Fail!” – Why Are Strutting Nazis Are So Afraid Of These Clowns? (Because They Are Effective)

The Scary CCC: Anti-Nazi demonstrators in Knoxville, Tennessee called themselves Coup Clutz Clowns. (redletterchristians.org)   By Sarah Freeman-Woolpert Waging Nonviolence (8/25/17) Trolls chanted in the streets the day of a planned neo-Nazi rally in the small ski town of Whitefish, Montana earlier this year. But they were not the trolls that residents had been expecting — namely, white supremacists from around the country, who had been harassing the town’s Jewish community with death threats. These trolls wore bright blue wigs and brandished signs that read “Trolls Against Trolls” and “Fascists Fear Fun,” cheerfully lining the route where the neo-Nazi march…


Warning From A WW II Veteran: In 1939, I Didn’t Hear War Coming. Now It’s Thundering Approach Can’t Be Ignored

The 1933 burning of the Reichstagg was the tipping point to the Nazis taking full reign of the German government. A lot of evidence suggests that the Polish communist convicted of the arson was a patsy and the Nazis themselves torched the building to trigger a crisis justifying suspension of normal civic rules and protections.   By Harry Leslie Smith The Guardian (8/14/17) A chill of remembrance has come over me during this August month. It feels as if the 2017 summer breeze is being scattered by the winds of war blowing from across our world towards Britain, just like…


Warnings About Slippery Slope Of Censoring Nazi Websites Fulfilled As Germany Shutters Left Wing Anti-Capitalist Website

  By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (8/25/17) In a move critics characterized as a dangerous threat to freedom of expression, the German government announced on Friday its decision to shut down a left-wing website it claims has links to violence that broke out during the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany last month. “This is what advocates of censorship are spawning,” said The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald in response to Germany’s decision. “Those who advocate state censorship today are its defenseless targets tomorrow.” – Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept Greenwald has sharply criticized those who have, in the aftermath of right-wing violence, advocated the censorship of right-wing views—a position he argues creates a…


Want Affordble, Universal Health Care? Then Change The Debate & Redefine Solution

  By Scott Galindez Reader Supported News (8/26/17) One of my heroes, Paul Wellstone, used to say: “In the last analysis, politics is not predictions and politics is not observations. Politics is what we do. Politics is what we do, politics is what we create, by what we work for, by what we hope for and what we dare to imagine.” Imagine a country where you go to the doctor, he treats you, and the bill gets paid for by your tax dollars. We can create that world if we lead! It is time to stop worrying about labels. It…


In Latest ‘Giveaway To Freeloading Corporate Polluters,’ Interior Sec. Zinke Calls For Carving Up National Monuments

Devil’s Tower National Monument in Wyoming was designated as the first national monument by President Teddy Roosevelt in 1906.   By Julia Conley Common Dreams (8/24/17) Environmental groups denounced the Interior Department’s recommendation to President Donald Trump on Thursday that he reduce the size of some of the country’s national monuments. While a number of outlets framed the story by reporting that Secretary Ryan Zinke was recommending against the elimination any monuments, a two-page summary (pdf) released by the Interior Department made clear his position that some of the country’s protected lands are too large. Trump ordered Zinke to review 27 monuments in April, declaring that President Barack…


More Of Your Tax Dollars Down The Crapper: Secret Service Ponied Up $7,100 Renting Luxury Porta Potties For Trump’s Bedminster Trip

  By Jessica Estepa USA Today (8/24/17) The financial strains on the Secret Service under the Trump administration are now well-known. And you can add luxury portable restrooms to their mounting bills. The agency spent thousands of dollars to rent the restrooms during the president’s August “working vacation” at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., according to a review of purchase orders flagged by the progressive PAC American Bridge and verified by USA TODAY. The agency also spent $13,500 of your money on golf cart rentals for yet another Trump vacation. The agency signed a contract with Imperial Restrooms to provide trailers on Aug. 3. That contract was updated a…


No Picture

Don’t Feed The Trolls — How To Effectively Combat America’s Homegrown Nazis Movement

By Kazu Haga Waging Nonviolence (8/22/17) Nazism and white supremacy are forms of violence. Let’s start there. The constitution does not protect violence, and I’m happy to see that the California chapter of the ACLU has taken a stand against protecting the “free speech” of hate groups. But with or without marching permits, it is clear that public displays of hatred are a growing trend in the United States. And as much as I don’t want to give these groups more attention, it is also clear that simply ignoring them is not going to make them go away. So what do we…


Russ Feingold: Trump’s Disavowal Rings Hollow – How The Republican Party Quietly Does The Bidding Of White Supremacists

The lesson from Charlottesville is not how dangerous the neo-Nazis are. It is the unmasking of the Republican party leadership.  By Russ Feingold The Guardian (8/19/17) It takes approximately 30 seconds to send a tweet. A half hour to draft and release a statement. And the shelf life of both is only marginally longer. We should not commend Republican party elected officials who claim outrage on social media at Trump’s remarks, often without daring to mention his name. The phony claimed outrage becomes dangerous if it convinces anyone that there is a distinction between Trump’s abhorrent comments and the Republican…


Russia Montior: Will Mueller Investigation Eclipse Trump Sooner Or Later?

  By Dan Peak The Commoner Call (8/24/17) Dear Fellow Readers, Trump is like a total eclipse regularly elbowing aside all other news as all media is drawn like moths to his billowing fires. Trump rallies the faithful in Arizona and spins on and on about neo-Nazis, threatens shutting down government, rants about fake news, a pardon for Sheriff Joe Arpaio and on and on … and on. Meanwhile, Special Counsel Mueller continues quietly doing his work undistracted. Trump Resignation Game-Ender? That said, Keith Olbermann, on Tuesday’s The Resistance, gets credit for pulling together important clues behind more obscure headlines to come to an…


As Trump Raged In Phoenix, Sanders & Conyers Offered Vision For A Better Nation

By Jake Johnson Common Dreams (8/23/17) While much of the nation looked on in horror as President Donald Trump delivered a speech ripped “out of a psychopathology textbook” on Tuesday night in Arizona, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) headlined a town hall-style event in Detroit, Michigan on racial and economic justice that served as a marked contrast to Trump’s “unhinged” performance. Before Sanders approached the podium, Rev. Wendell Anthony of the Detroit Fellowship Chapel Church delivered a remarkable introduction that was quickly spread on social media. Sanders is “trying to take down the tributes to racism and division” while also “trying to…


Misinforming & Manipulating The Majority: A Deliberate Strategy Of Right-Wing Libertarians

  By Mark Karlin Truthout (7/9/17) When and how were the seeds sown for the modern far-right’s takeover of American politics? Nancy MacLean reveals the deep and troubling roots of this secretive political establishment — and its decades-long plan to change the rules of democratic governance — in her new book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America. Get your copy by making a donation to Truthout now! Many individuals who follow politics and journalists think that the right-wing playbook began with the Koch brothers. However, in her groundbreaking book, Nancy MacLean traces their political strategy…